Karachi—Army chief General Raheel Sharif on Thursday assured the Sindh police of Pakistan Army’s support in the civilian force’s efforts towards eliminating terrorism from the province.
“In his telephonic conversation with Sindh Police chief AD Khawaja the Chief of Army Staff assured army’s complete support to the police in all aspects and said terrorism will be eliminated from every province of the country,” said a statement issued by the Sindh Police on Thursday.
The army chief’s statement comes a day after Sindh Police lost seven of its personnel escorting a polio vaccinating team in two separate terror attacks in Karachi. General Raheel also expressed deep grief and sorrow over the deaths of the police personnel besides offering his condolences to the bereaved families, the communiqué added.
At least seven police officials were killed in two separate attacks as unidentified armed men opened fire at them in Karachi’s Orangi Town on Wednesday.
The attacks took place within 600 metres of each other near a market, a senior police official said. “One took place at the three policemen who were escorting a polio team, the policemen were on foot when they were attacked,” said the official, Ali Asif. “In the second incident, four policemen in a police van were targeted.”
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter group Jamaatul Ahrar had claimed responsibility for the attack.
Following the attack, polio workers had called off the vaccination drive despite the home minister’s order for it to be continued according to schedule. A four-day polio vaccination drive was launched in all six districts of Karachi, Hyderabad and Kotri tehsil of Jamshoro on Monday. A total of 6,200 health workers were to perform their duty in Karachi’s 188 union councils. To ensure their security, the police provided 5,000 personnel.
In January, a suicide bomber had also blown himself up outside a polio vaccination centre in Quetta, killing at least 15 people, mainly police, officials said. The policemen had been gathering outside the centre to accompany polio workers on the third day of a vaccination campaign which are frequently targeted by Taliban and other militant groups in Pakistan.